The intranet marketplace has changed hugely in recent years, so do you know what to look for in an intranet solution?
It used to be that intranets were either highly-technical, customised solutions that were financially prohibitive for most organisations; or really inflexible, unappealing platforms that left no space for personalisation that invariably led to poor usage and adoption rates.
However, in recent years, packaged solutions have been appearing everywhere and they’re good. These new breeds of intranets come with pre-configured functionality, open and ready integrations, as well as a whole number of switches and knobs that can be turned on and off or dialled-up to 11, meaning that you can make an out-of-the-box intranet solution that will fit your organisation perfectly. You can read our eBook: How to create the business case for a new intranet to find out more.
The 6 things to consider when picking an out-of-the-box intranet solution
Given the number of intranets on the market, picking the right one for you can be fraught with difficulty. There are six key things to consider to ensure that you get the right one for your organisation:
1. Be certain of what you need
A packaged solution doesn’t mean ‘restrictive’ anymore. What this means is that at the cheaper-end there are solutions that allow you to change very little and will only do the basics. At the other, there really isn’t a limit to what can be done with them – or the potential costs involved. You, therefore, need to be certain of what you’re trying to achieve with your intranet (i.e. have a strategy and road map) and which features, functions and whatever else you definitely need, using that as a starting point for then bench-marking solutions.
2. Think about your wider technology stack
Many of the big software vendors have their own intranet platforms. With that, they could offer any number of clever shortcuts and advanced features that are unlocked if you pick a solution that uses that base technology and integrates it with your use of their wider product suite. For example, if you’re running Microsoft Windows, Dynamics CRM and Office, then a SharePoint-based solution is likely to be a quick, simple and cheap way to go to get a highly-effective intranet.
3. De-clutter your working environment
Many out-of-the-box intranets come with pre-baked features and functions within them. What this means is that, although a solution may look more expensive compared to another, the added functionality that it contains may mean that you no longer need an existing piece of technology that sits within your technology stack or that you can automate a slow, manual and expensive process. Going down that route may, therefore, actually be cheaper because you can ditch the old, superfluous piece of tech or automate previously human-led functions. Therefore, when considering your new intranet solution, think about the way your organisation operates as well as the technology that you’re using.
4. Don’t limit your horizons
Picking the right solution is as much about finding one that will meet your future needs, as well as those that you currently have. When you pick a solution, think about the licensing costs, what they include and whether upgrades and updates are included or are even possible. Software as a Service (SaaS) has taken the world by storm, bringing high-end continually improving technology to the mid-market, so why should your intranet be any different?
5. Customisations not developments
Any solution will be need to be tuned to your organisation, however some might need to be developed (i.e. coded), whereas others might come with out-of-the-box functions that can be tweaked or that support tailored content (e.g. branding) through simple uploads. The difference between the two often shows in the cost at the beginning, but most certainly will by the end, because if you have to develop there will invariably be expensive upgrading and patching exercises further down the road.
6. Find a partner and an intranet solution
Depending on the technology that you’re looking to implement and your internal capabilities, finding the right solution could be as much about finding a partner who can help you to implement their solution as it is the base system. Working with a partner is a good way of ensuring that any new intranet implementation is successful, as they should know their solution inside-out and how to make it work for your organisation. Good ones can even help you with the initial stages, forming a strategy and implementation road map, as well as ensure adoption through providing training, optimisation, and then support into the future.
There’s a lot to think about, so take your time and don’t rush into any decision.
Brennan IT have our own out-of-the-box solution built solutions called ‘Intranet QuickStart” which could be a quick, easy and very cost-effective way to get the intranet solution that you need, so speak to us today to find out more about it and how we can help you to get up and running in no-time.
Out-of-the-box intranet solutions have come a long way, but that makes finding the right one for you even harder. Here’s our 6 things to look out for in a new intranet solution.